John Baker – 8


In 1894, when “Gill & Baker” opened, Clarksville had about 8,000 residents – much larger than Murfreesboro.  It was still a tobacco town, famous for its production of dark-fired tobacco over the prior one hundred years, famous even in Europe.  Always ambivalent about secession, Union armies took control of the town and region in early 1862.  When John arrived, the town had equal numbers of blacks and whites, and already had several black leaders in local government.  On the other hand, racial tensions resulted in the great fire of 1873 which destroyed much of downtown.